The mint julep is a refreshing cocktail that has been a summer classic for decades. It has a bright, vibrant taste that will help you cool down in the hot summer heat.
It is also the signature drink for Kentucky derby day which happens to be right around the corner! Just in time for you to master the mint julep mocktail and serve it to all your guests at your derby racing party.
What is a Mint Julep?
The classic mint julep is made with bourbon, fresh mint, sugar and crushed ice. It is sweet and oaky with an incredible minty taste blended in.
The mint julep has been around since the eighteenth century. It is long associated with the Southern US, especially Kentucky. The drink became the official drink of the Kentucky Derby in 1983 and now over 120,000 mint juleps are served each year during the 2 day derby event.
Seems like a drink that people really seem to love. Which is exactly why we knew we had to create a non alcoholic version. We want to join in on all the mint julep fun, too!
What is a Mocktail Drink?
Before we talk about mint julep mocktails, we just wanted to give you a quick refresher course in mocktails in general. What is a mocktail? It is a cocktail made without alcohol. Essentially, a “mock” cocktail.
Mocktails are just as good, if not better, than cocktails made with alcohol. They have no bad side effects and can actually be healthy to drink. There are hundreds of different mocktails to try and we have quite a few recipes that we know you will love. Our mint julep mocktail recipe is just one of many!
Fun Mint Julep Facts
We love learning about our favorite drinks and cocktails. The mint julep happens to have a pretty rich history and there are quite a few fun facts about mint juleps that we think you will enjoy. Take a look at this list of mint julep facts and you will be ready for your next trivia night!
- The mint julep stems from an Arabic drink called julab. It was made with rose petals and water. The rose petals were replaced by mint and then liquor was added in place of water.
- During the Kentucky Derby, 10,000 bottles of bourbon, 1000 pounds of mint and 60,000 pounds of ice are used to make over 120,000 mint juleps for the event.
- Theodore Roosevelt, the 26th president of the United States was said to be a huge mint julep fan.
- Famous writer Ernest Hemmingway famously threw a glass of Mint Julep across a room when it wasn’t made to his liking.
- Mint juleps are sometimes called “hailstorm juleps” since the crushed ice inside the glass looks like hail.
Did you already know some of these fun facts? If you did, you are a bigger fan of the mint julep than we thought.
Ingredients for a Mint Julep Mocktail
The traditional mint julep is made with a whole lot of bourbon. We just can’t have that! So we turned to one of our favorite bourbon substitutes- apple juice. Of course, you also don’t really want to just drink apple juice all day. It needs to be turned into something a little more exciting. We have just the ingredients!
Here is what we use to make our non alcoholic mint juleps and a little bit about each ingredient.
- Fresh Mint- Fresh mint is essential in a mint julep. That is how the drink gets all its great minty taste! We like to use spearmint leaves which have a great, sweet taste. Peppermint leaves also work well and, if you’re lucky enough to find chocolate mint, use it!
- Apple Juice- Look for apple juice that is made from 100% real fruit. We like our virgin mint juleps to be pure flavor, no corn syrup or additives if possible. There are lots of brands of apple juice out there but the ones made from just apples are definitely the best.
- Maple Syrup- A little maple syrup sweetens the drink and adds a rich flavor. The taste of the syrup mimics the flavors in bourbon so it will make the apple juice taste a little less like juice and more like a tasty mocktail ingredient.
- Vanilla Extract- Vanilla also enhances the taste of the juice and turns it into something a little more interesting. Look for non alcoholic vanilla extract which is great for those of us trying to live a 100% dry life.
- Crushed Ice- Mint juleps are always made with crushed ice. Crushed ice melts faster and cools the drink down quickly. It also makes the mint julep taste like a slushy which we love. If you don’t have an ice machine that can make crushed ice, place a few ice cubes in a gallon sized plastic bag and smash it with a meat mallet or rolling pin. It is pretty easy to make crushed ice!
Got all of the ingredients to make a mint julep mocktail? Then grab a highball glass, some measuring spoons, a muddler, a measuring cup and a cocktail spoon to stir everything up. Now you are ready to be a mocktail mixologist!
How to Make a Virgin Mint Julep Mocktail
We love all mocktails but we especially love mocktails that are easy to make. Any drink that can be made in less than 5 minutes is a drink we want to try! Besides, if a drink is easy to put together, you are much more likely to actually drink it often. Which is great because this is definitely a drink we want to have all the time! Here is what you need to do to make it:
- Add the mint leaves to a highball glass and smash them with a muddler. Break up the leaves as much as possible to really extract the mint oils.
- Add the apple juice, maple syrup and non alcoholic vanilla extract.
- Stir everything together in the glass.
- Add the crushed ice to fill the glass and then enjoy!
A pretty sprig of mint is the traditional garnish for a mint julep. We also like a thin slice of lemon or a rosemary sprig added to the glass, if you feel like getting creative!
Give our easy, classic mint julep mocktail a try and let us know what you think. We bet it is going to become one of your favorite summer drinks. It is pretty refreshing! Enjoy.
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